Leaders can inspire — and thus retain — their top team members by making it clear how their work fulfills the company’s purpose, showing enthusiasm and making sure they are facing appropriate challenges, writes Reiner Lomb, founder and CEO of BoomerangCoach. “Setting challenging yet achievable goals helps to overcome apathy that can lead to ‘quiet quitting’ and to inspire more engagement,” Lomb writes.



When I first met Jennifer, vice president of a large telecom company, her team was underperforming, and she confided that she feared she wouldn’t reach the ambitious goals her manager had set for her department. She was afraid of failing and blamed it on her team’s lack of motivation.

When I asked what it was that made her team demotivated, she declared, “They are all lazy!” As I was probing deeper, Jennifer revealed that she believed that the people on her team should give their best because they were paid well, which is a rational reason for showing up at work.

Jennifer wasn’t aware that the primary driver of employee engagement is not rational, but emotional. Research conducted by The Corporate Leadership Council shows that emotions are 400% more powerful than rational reasons in motivating people to give their very best.

This means that an employee who is emotionally engaged puts in four times the effort of one motivated only by rational reasons, such as pay or benefits.


Essential role of a leader

The leader plays an essential role in energizing people to avoid “quiet quitting.” According to Gallup, leaders account for 70% of effective employee engagement. Unaware of her part in this essential role, Jennifer, because she felt helpless, blamed her team and used anger and threats to try to motivate them.

This backfired because it depressed the team’s morale even more, and they responded with resentment and distrust, emotions that sapped the energy needed to perform. The old carrot-and-stick method had failed and Jennifer’s team had quietly quit.